Really it’s all About the Food
*** STRICT PALEO AND CLEAN EATERS – HOLD ON TIGHT THIS POST MIGHT JUST BE TOO MUCH TO TAKE 🙂 ***
When I am home I eat fairly strict, mostly because I am staying on a budget and already prepaid my CSA for the year alleviating my need to go to the grocery store or dinner out and be tempted. However, when I am traveling the diet slacks, sometimes is even derailed. I found this past weekend all the derailments actually made up for the most memorable parts of the trip to Florida.
As I mentioned yesterday I met Ang and Corrine at the airport and we headed from Tampa to Gainesville, this is not a short drive. It took us about three hours to make this trip. And this is where our real trip began after repeatedly telling the rental car place I didn’t want all the extra add-ons we were about two hours into the drive when we first stopped.
TACO BELL/KFC BUFFET
Along the way one of us had to pee and we were all hungry. Corinne and I had just talked about how we had gone to Taco Bell post World’s Toughest Mudder while still in a dazed (hypothermic) state. As we looked for the next exit to use the rest room and find some gas station food we saw a sign for Taco Bell, like it was fate. As we pulled into the Taco Bell not only was it a Taco Bell but also a KFC. If you have never been into a place like this lets just say they are special, at least this one was. Not only was it two restaurants in one but it also featured a KFC all you can eat buffet for $6.99 (don’t worry none of us actually ate it).
Our adventure here started when Corinne asked the young girl behind the counter if they had the nutrition facts on the new Cantina bowl and burrito, all she got was an “umm I don’t think we have those”. Still pretty sure they have to have them but we went on to order anyways opting for the new Cantina Veggie Burrito and bypassing the all you can eat buffet. Honestly, I think we were the first to ever order this item in the restaurant, as it took over fifteen minutes for us to get our food. We were pretty much the only ones in the place. The wait did give Ang and Corinne a chance to scope out the buffet, to which I think Corinne still wants to go back and try out the mac and cheese out of pure curiosity. We ate then headed back on the road.
After settling in at our hotel we headed to the closest CVS to get some water and Gatorade and other hydration aids. I think I went a little overboard. Can you tell I am not use to the heat. Our next adventure in food was a tasty wheat pizza in the hotel which was closer to a loaf of wheat bread with some sauce and cheese, it was late and we were hungry so the food didn’t matter much. Andy who is much better at sticking to a diet, having driven down was able to bring her food with her. She was smart.
THE UNNAMED MEXICAN PLACE
After the race on Saturday it was about 4pm and we were all hungry. A group of us headed to the Mexican restaurant next to the hotel. We all figured it’s pretty hard to mess up Mexican food and there was something for everyone having three vegetarians in the group. We walked in and only one other table was seated with about eight people all from the race as well donning their new shirts and some with their medals on.
Upon sitting down the one waitress working came over and placed six frosty mugs at our table and a pitcher of beer. We all looked around confused asking each other who ordered the beer, none had. Maybe this was just how this place worked we thought out loud. We told the waitress we hadn’t ordered the beer, apparent it was for the other table. The waitress looked stressed so we all just laughed it off and moved on to reading the menu.
As the waitress came back, she first apologized to us for sweating (really she was apologizing to the wrong crowd – we roll in mud for fun!) and that she was the only one working and her shift had ended already but the next person wasn’t there. The term “hot mess” I believed was used when recounting this story later. As we ordered Andi asked if they had wheat tortilla’s instead of flour, she ran to the back and confirmed they did. Great everyone was thinking! As we were finishing our orders, the waitress who had been late entered and walked up to our waitress. No joke a verbal fight almost broke out on the spot. Our waitress said something about her baby-daddy parked around the corner waiting for her with her kids. The other one talked about her baby-daddy as well. I think this is the first time I have actually heard people talk about their baby-daddy in real life. I wish this was the end of the story but it only continued…
As the food started to come out and mass confusion started. The plates started to get put in front of the wrong people. The waitress placed a quesadilla in front of Corinne (she ordered a fajita). When she said to the waitress this isn’t a fajita, she responded it was it just wasn’t cut. We all looked a little funny at each other. The waitress was really trying but nothing was running smoothly. We realized it was Andi’s quesadilla and just passed it over, no biggie. Then another folly after another with the orders. At this point the waitress said, she didn’t know what each thing was and the cook didn’t tell her which was which he just threw them at her. She finished saying and I quote “I’m Puerto Rican I didn’t know what the Mexican dishes are.” Seriously, you can’t make this up! My order came out close, I had ordered a chicken burrito, chicken taco, and beans and rice. I got a chicken enchilada, beef taco, and beans and rice. I was just happy to get the food and ate what was in front of me. Oh and did I mention there were no wheat tortillas, they got flour ones. It was one of those places you were just happy to get your food.
When I got the check, which she thankfully had split between us all, I found that my total was on the slip but they had also rounded up just for me. I was the only one with the additional math on my slip. As we left the waitress thanked us over and over for being so understanding, we really had no problems with it all. It made a great story!
THE JONES EASTSIDE and BOHANNON’S Gas Station
Back at the race venue, as the rest ran the night heat, I decided to rest. The heat of the day had killed me and zapped all energy. I headed over to the food vender and got some great fish tacos and sweet potato fries. As I waited for the food I spoke with the food vendor and he suggested a great organic place for breakfast which had vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options called The Jones Eastside. After our past twenty-four hours of eating we all looked forward to some healthy food.
Sunday morning we headed to The Jones Eastside located on a funny little strip mall next to a pawn shop. We didn’t let the location deter us as we walked in to see it packed! The waitress said it would be about a twenty minute wait. Ang wanted a Diet Coke and I needed an ATM so we figured we would kill the time with a stop in the gas station on the corner, well maybe Bohannon’s was not the place we should have gone. As we got near the door a couple older men were sitting outside, one asked what we were looking for Ang said she wanted a Diet Coke, he said “We might have that. I don’t know I am just looking after the place for her.” who her was we still don’t know we didn’t stick around to find out.
As we stepped inside the first thing we noticed was the stench. It literally smelled like a dead body was decaying. I noticed no lights were on in the place. I quickly surveyed the place noticing a closed down former kitchenette and some old booths which had better days. Strewn on top of them were stacks of old newspapers, highlighted by the overweigh Albino guy eating something out of a take-out box. Literally it was like something out of the Goonies! Next I looked over at the beverage coolers which seemed to have beer although all the cases were cut open allowing you to buy one at a time. There were about six gatorades spread around one case, then a dozen or so Cokes and Diet Cokes, each on it’s own row to give the appearance of quantity. Corinne observed several different jars of pickled pigs feet, a variety of flavors. Ang and I walked closer to the cooler and saw about eight tomatoes and two heads of lettuce on a shelf. We had seen enough, quickly we turned around and I spotted the ATM which I should have guessed at this point was “Out of Order”. That was it we were out! We headed across the interaction to the Winn-Dixie and got Ang her Coke and I went to the ATM.
We headed back to The Jones Eastside the waitress had wondered where we had gone. When we told her we had gone to the gas station said said in a shocked tone, “you went there! Oh we don’t go in there.” a little too late for us but at least it’s a good story! After and absolutely amazing meal, if you are in Gainesville go there but skip Bohannon’s, we headed on the road back to Tampa.
BEST REST STOP EVER
Along the way we made a few stops, the first to get gas where a lanky old man said to Ang she reminded him of his granddaughter we ended up at a second gas station just outside of Tampa. This gas station made up feel like we hit the lottery, first it had a Dunkin Donuts (I was in need of coffee) then we visited the bathroom. This was literally the BEST rest room I have ever seen in a gas station. Not only was it clean, tiled, it had a flat screen TV playing ESPN in it. No joke a flat screen. Being we were hours from when our flight took off we inquired to the woman working at the gas station what there was to do in Tampa before our flight, all she said was go to a club (it was 1:00pm) and the other women at the Dunkin Donuts counter told us she had a nine-month old and didn’t go out. Epic Fail.
So we drove around and found some wonderful places around the city visiting the historic Hype Park and University of Tampa. We then headed to the airport large cardboard checks in hand making our way through security many stared, it didn’t matter we had had an adventure. As we departed each other our weekend and adventure came to a close. I imagine if you still are reading this incredibly long post it might not be as funny in recounting as it was in person but truly we had an interesting experience in Florida over this past weekend and one for the records :).